Clean Air – Cool Planet’s Comments on President-elect Obama’s New Environmental and Energy Advisors

Statement about the New Appointments by Rafe Pomerance, President of Clean Air – Cool Planet

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 /PRNewswire/ — “President-elect Obama has recognized the importance of addressing climate change, and has put forward a team of environmental advisors who see the need for strong action and who collectively have a great range of practical experience in energy policy.

His decision to create a White House office to focus on climate and energy will help this talented team to work with the administration’s top economic advisors as they reach out to the Congress and the private sector. By taking this important organizational step, President-elect Obama has shown, not just that he is serious about combating global warming and creating ‘green jobs’ to revitalize our economy, but, that he’s going to approach the effort strategically.”

To advance a new strategy, Clean Air – Cool Planet (CA-CP) has released and presented a report to President-elect Obama’s transition team. The report, Building a Foundation for Success: Recommendations for Early Action on Climate Change for the 44th President of the United States, with 25 recommendations for President-elect Obama that lays the foundation, which can help the incoming administration address climate change as part of an overall strategy to increase America’s energy security and reinvigorate the U.S. economy.

News reports indicate that the Obama administration has chosen a path consistent with one of CA-CP’s early recommendations, creation of a White House council on energy and climate, as excerpted below.

Recommendation: Create a National Energy and Climate Council (NECC) in the White House on a parallel with other major White House offices. The Council should:

  • Have a director that reports to the President, with broad experience and credibility on energy and climate issues, and the trust and confidence of the President;

  • Focus on both climate and energy — the two issues are inextricably linked and neither issue can be responsibly confronted without the other;

  • Develop and implement a climate and energy plan;

  • Engage in a transparent manner with the public and Congress on critical issues relevant to energy and climate;

  • Include deputy-level participation from the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the National Economic Council (NEC), the National Security Council (NSC) and all relevant Cabinet agencies;

  • Have offices located in the West Wing of the White House for both the Council director and his/her deputy; and

  • Have a staff of 10 with senior staff responsible for coordinating the Administration’s approach to international climate negotiations, domestic climate legislation, the roles that key sectors — electricity, transportation, manufacturing, buildings, agriculture, forestry — can play in reducing emissions, and constituency outreach.

The NECC will fill a role that no entity at the White House can currently provide. The major White House offices — Office of Management and Budget (OMB), National Security Council (NSC), National Economic Council (NEC), Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), and the Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) — all have other critical responsibilities that distract them from a dedicated focus on climate and energy. With a focused assignment, the confidence of the President, and a talented staff, the NECC can coordinate effectively with Cabinet agencies and conduct outreach efforts to various constituencies including private and non-governmental entities, and the citizenry.

– Building a Foundation for Success: Recommendations for Early Action on Climate Change for the 44th President of the United States, p. 10.

A link to the entire report, all 25 recommendations and executive summary is online at

CACP identifies seven broad climate change goals for the upcoming presidential transition:

  1. Pick the right team to carry the initiative;
  2. Reallocate budget resources, to make climate change a priority;
  3. Legislate for economy-wide emissions reductions;
  4. Aggressive research and development for low-carbon energy technology;
  5. Federal planning for adaptation to climate change impacts;
  6. Enable and encourage citizens to build efficiency and conservation in their homes and communities;
  7. Re-engage cooperation with international partners.

The recommendations draw on interviews with more than 40 professionals experienced in presidential transitions, senior White House officials and Executive Branch staff from Republican and Democratic administrations, economists and climate change experts.


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